Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary
by Marilyn Westphal
The eight-acre Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary is located in north Asheville at the upper end of Beaver Lake. It is owned and maintained by Blue Ridge Audubon. The property consists largely of wetlands traversed by a boardwalk and a wooded upland area with a pond. There is also a trail running alongside Beaver Lake that is accessible from the sanctuary by walking back out to the sidewalk along Merrimon Avenue, turning left and continuing across the creek to the trail. The trail extends from the sanctuary to the dam and the property is owned by the Lakeview Park Association, but is open to the public. This whole area is an excellent location to find breeding species such as Yellow Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, American Redstart, Yellow-throated Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Eastern Kingbird, Tree Swallow, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Baltimore Oriole, and Orchard Oriole. During spring and fall migration many other species of neo-tropical migrant can be found. Blue-winged and Prothonotary Warblers as well as many other species can also be found in the sanctuary during spring migration. In late fall, winter, and early spring many species of waterfowl often stopover on the lake, or even stay for the winter. A list of birds that have been seen in the sanctuary area can be found at the kiosk located near the parking lot.
Locating Key Species
Warbling Vireos usually arrive around mid-April and in recent years have nested in the trees along the lake between the canoe rental and the dam. Yellow Warblers also arrive in mid-April and most nest in the sanctuary, although some may be found along the lake, especially in areas of thick vegetation. Brown-headed Nuthatches are present year-round and most often nest in trees along the lake edge from the sanctuary to the dam. Nest holes have been found in the sanctuary next to the overlook, along the edge of the lake between the sanctuary and the canoe rental, and at the canoe rental. In winter they are most often found in the conifers near the dam. Baltimore Orioles may be seen anywhere around the lake, but in recent years have most often nested at the dam end of the lake. They arrive in late April or early May. Prothonotary and Blue-winged Warblers most often pass through the area in late April and early May and are most often found in the sanctuary.
Directions and Regulations
From I-240 in Asheville take Merrimon Avenue north about 2.5 miles. The sanctuary entrance is on the left across from the golf course. There is a gated parking lot at the sanctuary that is open during daylight hours. The gate closes automatically at dusk. The pond and boardwalk are straight ahead from the parking lot. No pets are allowed in the sanctuary, and dogs on leash are allowed on the Lakeview Park property by permit only. There are no restroom facilities available at the sanctuary or on the Park Association property. The sanctuary is supported entirely by donations to Blue Ridge Audubon. A donation pipe is available near the parking lot.